Thanksgiving Gratitude

I meant to write a post about gratitude prior to Thanksgiving, but life got in the way. Which may be fitting, because I think gratitude is even more valuable when you're in the midst of chaos. It's one thing to feel thankful while looking at a beautiful sunset or relaxing in contentment and another to remind yourself of all you love when your world is tilting beneath your feet.

When I think of gratitude, there's a particular quote that often comes to mind:
The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.  -- Dante Gabriel Rossetti
I understand the sentiment. There's a similar idea in Love Story when Jenny is dying and Ollie wishes he believed in god--not to have someone to rail against, but to have someone to thank for every moment she was in his life.

But, for me, a supernatural god isn't necessary to experience deep, heartfelt gratitude. There are so many other ways to direct that emotion.

I am grateful to my husband for being my best-friend and truest pillar of love and support.

I am grateful to my children for loving me and accepting my love, even when it isn't expressed as well as I would like.

I am grateful for my extended family and circle of friends for simply being part of my life and accepting me for who I am, and for keeping me busy most of Thanksgiving morning with both receiving and sending holiday cheer.

I am grateful to the universe for existing in precisely the right way to allow life to evolve and grow on this blue-green rock. And grateful for every moment, good and bad, that I have been lucky enough to keep drawing breath after breath.

While I don't believe in a god, I don't feel that there is "nobody to thank." I can thank those around me for all the big and little ways that they enhance my life. I can thank myself when I remember to be patient and kind to others, and when I make time to take care of myself.

While there are hard times to face and difficult people to navigate, the world is also full of beautiful things and kind, wonderful people.

Gratitude, for me, is acknowledging and appreciating the good wherever it can be found. No deity required.

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